While bringing up some good valid points, a couple of the posters have made technical errors, solely due to the intentional confusion created by the anti's choice of terms.
Assault weapon actually is a _very_ precise term - it means a gun in an intermediate caliber that can fire in full auto: one trigger pull, many bullets. It is often misused in gun control discussions to stir up fear and emotion, and to associated semi-automatic civilian arms with negative connotations.
This is incorrect.
As far as calling them “Assault Rifles”, this is a coined phrase generated by the media most likely due to the fact of them being called “AR” rifles.
This is also incorrect. Now, let me explain how they are incorrect. They are incorrect because the posters swapped the terms "assault rifle" and "assault weapon". Exactly the thing anti-gunners hoped for when they chose the term "asault weapon" Here is the accuracte use of the terms, and a bit of their history...
This is, indeed, a very precise term. It was first coined by Adolf Hitler in 1944. When the Nazis were rampaging across Europe and winning, there was a standing order put in place forbidding developement of new rifles. IT was considered a waste of resources. This prohibition did not include submachineguns. German industry developed and fielded (in small numbers) a new class of rifle in 1943. Because of the order it was called a submachinegun (MP in German termanology). In 44, when Hitler first learnd of the new rifle, he was furious that his order had been flouted. When the gun was demonstrated for him, he changed his mind, and enthusiatically christened it the Sturmgehwer
. This translates to "assault rifle".
The rifle in question (Stg 44) is an air cooled, magazine fed, select fire rifle, using an intermediate power round (more than a pistol, less than the standard infantry rifle of the day). It has a protruding pistol grip, detachable 30rnd mag, and a more or less straight line stock.
The shooting community adopted the term, and while sometimes loosly applied to semi autos with the same style, it was always understood that actual "assault rifles" are select fire. FULL AUTO and Semi auto. Guns capable of full auto fire are, under US law, machine guns, and have been highly regulated since 1934. NO new law was needed for the "new" assault rifles (as a class) after WWII, they were machine guns, already covered under US law.
This is a term, made up by the anti gunners in the early 1990s. And it came about like this...
The mass shooting in Stockton Ca (a school), the shooter used a semi auto AK (and a pistol to kill himself). The media screamed "he used an assault rifle!" We answered back, "No, he just used a rifle. It was semiautomatic. Assault rifles are select fire, they fire FULL AUTO as well as semi."
Then the media screamed "He used a semiautomatic assault rifle!!!"
This prooved to be a rather cumbersome sound bite for talking heads to beat us with, so, after a year or so, it became "assault weapon".
This term was codified in law in 94, and does NOT refer to ANY full auto or select fire weapon. It refers to SEMI AUTOMATIC firearms with cosmetic features listed in the law.
The term "assault weapon" was deliberately chosen to promote confusion, between the valid (and in use) term "assault rifle" and the ordinary person's understanding of the term "assault" in English.
Lots of people think any weapon used to assault someone is an assault weapon. And, in general terms, they are right. But in the specific terms used in law, they are not right. In law, "assault weapon" refers ONLY to certain specific rifles, pistols and shotguns, those that have the right combination of features, as defined in the law.
While there is a very different definition of them in law, in common usage in the last decades, the two terms have come to be understood as meaning the same thing in conversation. Kind of like engine and motor in your car. Use either one in conversation, we know what you are talking about.
BUT, go to order parts, or discuss some technical aspect, and you find there is a HUGE difference between a motor and an engine. And when talking about law, one MUST be technical. Which is why the anti's created the term "assault weapon". Technically it means what ever they say it means, and what they got in law.
NOW, one can find the anti's talking not only about "assault weapons" but "military style assault weapons" (wonder what civilian style AWs are? simple answer; they are whatever the anti's SAY they are!)
PLEASE, take some pains to use the two terms correctly. There is a difference.
And, one more thing...the anti's completely missed the point about the armed protection of the President's kids. Right away they began screaming about how "of course the kids are protected, they are important!"...and they are important, all our kids are. TO me, my children as just as important as the Presiden't are too him, I'm sure. And that was the point, NOT that the Pres's kids don't deserve protection, but that ALL our kids do.
Nobody says take away their protection, we're saying give us the same. Don't DENY our children the same protection your kids have! A "Guns to protect us, but none to protect you" is
a hypocritical, elitist attitude.